This Comment evaluates the history of Washington's estate tax from the pre-2005 frozen scheme, through the Supreme Court's analysis and mandate in Estate of Hemphill v. State, and up to the legislation enacted in May 2005. Part II provides a background on EGTRRA and evaluates the extent of its changes nationwide. Part III critically reviews Washington's estate tax history, and examines both the seminal Initiative 402 and the legislative history supporting the shift away from federal conformation. Part IV analyzes how the court's 2005 ruling provided the catalyst for legislative change, and provides a summary of Hemphill and the arguments presented therein. Part V argues that Senate Bill 6096 is a sound step towards dealing with the inevitable fiscal issues resulting both from Washington's pre-2005 scheme and from the choice Washington had to make in light of Hemphill. Part VI evaluates the ramifications and problems that the change to EGTRRA would have inflicted and that Senate Bill 6096 specifically avoids, and encourages the legislature to treat the bill as but one step of an ongoing process of proactive taxation. Part VII concludes the Comment with the point that the newly enacted stand-alone tax is the best way to square the interests of all parties involved and notes that, although it may not be an appropriate permanent fix, Senate Bill 6096 is a positive step for our state and the legislature should be encouraged to continue improving upon it.
Christine M. Mumford, Up and Down and Back Again: Troubled Childhood Childhood Notwithstanding, Washington's Stand Alone Estate Tax Deserves to be Defended, 29 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 687 (2006).